Marco Rubio Endorses Mitt Romney, Avoids Vice Presidential Speculation

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio officially threw his support behind Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday night in an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity show.

“It’s evidently and increasingly clear that Mitt Romney’s going to be the Republican nominee,” Rubio told Sean Hannity. “I am going to endorse Mitt Romney.”

“He offers such a stark contrast to the president’s record,” he added.

Rubio said that the primary needed to come to a close and that Republicans must avoid a “floor fight” in Tampa this summer: “I don’t think there’s anything good about that.

“I think it’s a recipe for disaster.

“I think all the candidates in this race have a lot to be proud of,” Rubio said, speaking of the other Republicans running for the party’s nomination, but he called Obama a “disastrous president” and suggested the GOP should begin to focus on the general election.

Perhaps more than any other Republican, Rubio’s name is tossed around as a potential vice presidential candidate. Rubio shot down that speculation, saying, "I don’t believe I’m going to be asked to be the vice presidential nominee. ”

He said as much in an interview earlier on Wednesday.

“It’s not going to happen,” Rubio told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “But I’m obviously flattered by, that people think about me that way. There are some things I’d like to get done here in the United States Senate. I’m enjoying the role that we have here.”

Mitchell noted that he would “have a lot more power as vice president, potentially.”

“Oh, you think so?” Rubio replied, grinning widely. “I don’t know. I mean that’s debatable. Well, I’m enjoying my time here in the Senate. It’s a privilege to serve here, and that’s really what I’m focused on. I’m not going to be the vice presidential nominee, but I’m always flattered when people bring it up. I think they mean it as a compliment.”

Tuesday, in an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Romney was asked to describe Rubio in one word. Using three, Romney responded “The American Dream.”

Rubio is taking other steps to shed his previously low profile. The South Carolina GOP announced earlier this month that the Florida senator will be keynoting the party’s annual Silver Elephant dinner on May 19.

And the publisher of Rubio’s forthcoming memoir, An American Son, announced that it was pushing up the release date from October to June 19.

According to a late January poll conducted by Latino Decisions for ABC News and Univision, 60 percent of Latino Republicans in Florida would be much more likely to vote Republican in November if Rubio is added to the GOP ticket. Nationwide, 13 percent of Latinos said they would be much more likely to vote Republican if that happened, with 12 percent saying they would be somewhat more likely to back the GOP if Rubio joined forces with Romney.

That same poll found that 67 percent of Latinos would back Obama in a matchup against Romney, who only earned 25 percent of their support. Forty-one percent of Latinos nationwide said they had a somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Romney. And a whopping 72 percent of Latinos said the Republican candidates in the primary either didn’t care too much about Latinos or were being outright hostile towards Latinos.

Rubio would obviously help Romney’s cause in that regard.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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